Our Basic Trouble (Step 3) – Big Book pages 60 – 63

Being convinced , we were at Step Three , which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him . Just what do we mean by that , and just what do we do ?

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self – will can hardly be a success . On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody , even though our motives are good . Most people try to live by self – propulsion . Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show ; is forever trying to arrange the lights , the ballet , the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way . If his arrangements would only stay put , if only people would do as he wished , the show would be great . Everybody , including himself , would be pleased . Life would be wonderful . In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous . He may be kind , considerate , patient , generous ; even modest and self – sacrificing . On the other hand , he may be mean , egotistical , selfish and dishonest . But , as with most humans , he is more likely to have varied traits .

What usually happens ? The show doesn’t come off very well . He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right . He decides to exert himself more . He becomes , on the next occasion , still more demanding or gracious , as the case may be . Still the play does not suit him . Admitting he may be somewhat at fault , he is sure that other people are more to blame . He becomes angry , indignant , self – pitying . What is his basic trouble ? Is he not really a self – seeker even when trying to be kind ? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well ? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants ? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate , snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not , even in his best moments , a producer of confusion rather than harmony ?

Our actor is self – centered , ego – centric , as people like to call it nowadays . He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation ; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century ; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave ; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him ; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up . Whatever our protestations , are not most of us concerned with ourselves , our resentments , or our self – pity ?

Selfishness , self – centeredness ! That , we think , is the root of our troubles . Driven by a hundred forms of fear , self – delusion , self – seeking , and self – pity , we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate . Sometimes they hurt us , seemingly without provocation , but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt .

So our troubles , we think , are basically of our own making . They arise out of ourselves , and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self – will run riot , though he usually doesn’t think so . Above everything , we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness . We must , or it kill us ! God makes that possible . And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid . Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore , but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to . Neither could we reduce our self – centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power . We had to have God’s help .

This is the how and the why of it . First of all , we had to quit playing God . It didn’t work . Next , we decided that hereafter in this drama of life , God was going to be our Director . He is the Principal ; we are His agents . He is the Father , and we are His children . Most Good ideas are simple , and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom .

When we sincerely took such a position , all sorts of remarkable things followed . We had a new Employer . Being all powerful , He provided what we needed , if we kept close to Him and performed His work well . Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves , our own little plans and designs . More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life . As we felt new power flow in , as we enjoyed peace of mind , as we discovered we could face life successfully , as we became conscious of His presence , we began to lose our fear of today , tomorrow or the hereafter . We were reborn .

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